If the first big explosion of web video centered around UGC and the second wave was all about comedy than the third was is drama.
MediaWeek has a good overview on the state of dramatic webseries:
“Among the more ambitious projects is Foreign Body, a 10-week, 50-episode, adult-targeted soap produced by Michael Eisner’s Vuguru (Prom Queen) that serves as a prequel to a Robin Cook medical thriller arriving at bookstores Aug. 5. Yet shows like Body face numerous obstacles, including the lack of established viewing patterns or creative formulas, along with a risk-averse attitude among some advertisers, who theses have plentiful options for placing video ads on the Web.”
In fact, “Foreign Bodies” has been basically a failure, racking up something like 1 million views over all episodes on all platforms.
SAI has word on another book-to-web series/promo experiment:
“Stephen King has long wanted to break free of traditional publishing, and CBS would love to show there’s some synergy between its oldest and newest media.
So rather than just release another scary story in book form only, publisher Scribner — a unit of Simon & Schuster — and CBS are trying a new approach: Convert an unpublished novel “N.” into a series of 25 video episodes distributed by CBS on the Web and mobile devices.”
You can take a look at a promo for that here.
With more regular TV shows being watched online and the quality of product rising constantly, it isn’t surprising to see people trying to tackle meatier material. While there is lots of talk about ideal episode length and the importance of hooks, the truth is the same as it ever was: if you don’t make a good show nobody is going to watch. The platform is secondary.
Lindsey Campbell, the host of the the CBS-produced web-news show MobLogic, went downtown to cover the Al Sharpton-led protests about the Sean Bell shooting and she, along with Al and others, got arrested.
This produced some rather compelling footage for MobLogic and raises interesting questions about the role of the journalist in the digital age. Where is the line between reporter and participant? What happens when that line is crossed?
As NewTeeVee points out:
“I think the real difference — and improvement — lies in the towards-the-end shot of Al Sharpton, rubbing his eyes, wearily answering Campbell’s questions for MobLogic’s camera. I’ve never seen such a professionally “on” figure allow themselves to be captured so “off” before, seemingly without calculation.”
This is another example of the ways in which the traditional news media is being challenged and, in many cases, beaten, in the pursuit and delivery of current events.
According to the TVSquad:
“Mark Burnett has a new unscripted project, greenlighted by CBS, called Jingles. It’s a competition show in which contestants have to create tunes for products, commercial jingles.”
Yes, my friends, you read that right. The best part is that there will be actual commercials between the gameshow segments, which, one imagines, will be little more than longer commercials.
This is one of those ideas that makes me so sad deep down inside. Sad because it is kind of a brilliant idea. Sad because people will probably love it. Sad because we are living in a time when people will clamour for the chance to “show the world” just how they can shill with the best of them.
SAI has some numbers on the users and viewers of the many free live-streaming options that have been popping up and sucking up VC rather rapidly.
Turns out the numbers are quite equaling the investment, yet.
“The biggest site, LiveVideo, had 1.13 million unique viewers in February, according to Nielsen’s VideoCensus. That’s enough to earn it 49th on Nielsen’s list of top video sites — and to beat Sony’s Crackle (nee Grouper). But it drops off dramatically from there.
Second-place streamer uStream, supposedly a Microsoft buyout candidate, ranks 142nd among the top video sites. That puts it between iVillage Network (141st) and one above Atom Films (143rd), in terms of unique viewers of video. And Justintv, the supposedly redhot home of iJustine? Just 82,000 unique viewers, Nielsen says — enough to earn it #369.”
This isn’t especially surprising to anyone who has spent time watching the average live-stream. Like most of the videos on YouTube, it isn’t that interesting. And, unlike the video’s on YouTube, these “broadcasts” never really end.
Sure, there are some exceptions and it is here that we will begin to see some growth. The first issue is figuring out what NEEDS to be live. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Think how few things are actually live on TV.
The news. Morning shows. Sporting events. SNL. That’s about it aside from the rare stunt programming. As the tech gets better and the streams get more clear sports will be a big part of the live-streaming world – look how well CBS did with their live NCAA games. I’ve even heard anecdotal reports of people “broadcasting” sporting events of their own tv, via webcam, to the web for those who can’t get it in their region.
The lovely folks over at TechCrunch have assembled a nice gallery of comments left on the CBSSports NCAA Facebook application that has not quite performed up to snuff. With a whole bunch of problems being reported, users around the country are sounding off.
As TC points out:
“But it is an even more serious issue for CBS Sports. It is failing in a very public way. This is the risk big brands take when they put an app on Facebook. It had better work or else the world will hear about it.”
Not sure I have much to add.
As a big fan of the internet and all it has to offer I have been close on a number of occasions to canceling my TimeWarner cable subscription. This would save me close to $1000/year.
The biggest thing standing in my way has always been the lack of live sports. I don’t mind waiting to see this week’s Family Guy, but there’s something about sports that demands to be viewed live.
Now, big news from Joost (via Mashable):
“Joost today announced that they’ll be carrying as of tomorrow live streaming coverage of March Madness, in a deal struck with Joost investor CBS, according to a report from NewTeeVee this evening.”
This is pretty huge since it has been the one thing traditional TV has had over the net. Of course, I can’t imagine the quality of the broadcast will be anything close to what you’ll get at home on your big HDTV but for those stuck at work or in the airport this is a great service.
Even more astounding is that the games are going to be presented ad-free. Clearly, this is more an attempt by Joost/CBS to boost recognition and use of the service but it’s a good one.
I’m hard-pressed to imagine the circumstances under which the (over)hyped video player Joost could become successful but, according to CNet, the backers are CBS are confident:
“Speaking to a small gathering of tech and media reporters at CBS’ New York headquarters Thursday, (CBS Interactive president Quincy) Smith gave a firm “no” when asked if Joost–which requires a software download and has slipped from the Web video radar since its buzzworthy debut–was dead in the water. “(Mike) Volpe knows what he’s doing,” Smith said of the Cisco Systems veteran who serves as the start-up’s CEO. “It’s got a good team.”
I guess you have to give the guy credit for keeping a positive outlook but he doesn’t seem to have much more to back up his optimism. The problem is that Joost isn’t especially unique or difficult to replicate so there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it to become a go-to kind of app.